John S. Bell has conclusively shown that non-locality is real; i.e. the speed of light is being broken, or information is
being sent back in time (take your pick)
when two particles are "quantum entangled".
But, it is also true that quantum entanglement does not imply faster than light "communication". You cannot affect which state the particle goes into when the observation occurs. But, the act of observing causes the entangled particle to decide on it's state, and to "tell" the other particle what that state is. So the act of "observing" causes an effect that propagates instantaneously across space
from point-A to point-B. (see: Physicist Nicolas Gisin / University of Geneva / at least 10,000 times faster than light).
Here is the article on cold fusion:
Someone once said, "The only thing we know for certain, is that we do not know everything".
To that end, while faster than light travel may be inconceivable within our current frame work of knowledge, it does not mean that it will never be figured out. As one poster postulated, if we never think about it, then you can be pretty certain we never will figure it out. I am not saying we will ever figure it out, but I do know that we do not know everything.
Not that long ago, breaking the sound barrier was inconceivable.
Newton's second "law" was considered a "law" until special relativity. Now one could consider it an "approximation" that applies at low speeds.
Heck, we do not even have a unified theory yet showing a significant lack of understanding of fundamental physics.
Oh, I read recently that someone reputable had come up with a viable postulation for cold-fusion that may show it not to be completely crazy.
I got the distinction of being called a Neanderthal!
Are we going to call Neanderthals all those who have ridiculed the scientists that alleged to have discovered room temperature cold fusion?
Should we welcome to the club all the crowd of believers in "free energy" and "perpetual motion"? Or should we welcome those who ridicule them?
By the way, the science that took the Apollo to the Moon was in the books long time (generations) before the project was started. The concept of rockets is very old. Just the technological details had to be polished, like communications systems, life-support systems, inertial guidance systems, etc. Don't they say today that the computer on board Apollo missions was less powerful than common graphing calculators on every student's backpack?
Even the idea that the Earth was round is ancient. The problem started when some religious institution dictated that it was not so. But that is not the point here.
The writer of the article that started all this was successful in one aspect: it stirred the water. It caught our attention by using a title that is absolutely non-sensical. The warp-drive is in the works? That was shameful. Just like publishing an article about some crime and giving all the gory details that have nothing to do with the main purpose of the article.
Let's wonder what reaction would have resulted if the title was "StarTrek's warp-drive concept not so crazy after all"?
Or better yet: "Faster-than-light travel is feasible"?
But no, they had to attach it to a fictional setting dear to many engineers.
Does anyone know whether Einstein ever read science fiction novels?
Oh, and before I forget, the Neanderthal vanished from the Earth at some point in time right? Either we are all in the same club or not. In either case, welcome to the club!
Physicists exploring the possibility of faster-than-light (FTL) travel claim their purpose is to stimulate people to think beyond accepted theory. Here's an edited version of their response to critics:
The proposal that spacetime is not physical, but instead merely a mathematical tool, is not an opinion widely held in the physics
community. Predictions from physical theories often guide us toward the underlying structure of nature, and general relativity is a primary example of this. Certain effects can only be explained by
assuming that spacetime is indeed a fabric; frame dragging and the Lense-Thirring effect are excellent examples. Also, the cosmological red-shifting is yet another example of spacetime being a fabric.
Second, the objection regarding faster than light as being equivalent to a time machine is based upon special relativity predictions which are valid when an object moves through space and is well known. The research effectively turns the problem around by proposing to move space itself. That's the entire point. Although, issues of Closed
Time-like Curves are valid objections which should be addressed.
Now some more general comments. Only having two problems is great! There should be hundreds, perhaps thousands of problems with the idea of a warp drive. I wonder how many problems the Apollo scientists had to solve to send humans to the moon, or how many problems early ship builders had to overcome to build a ship capable of crossing the
Atlantic. What we are suggesting contradicts over a century of known physics (that nothing can move faster than light), but in my opinion the easy way out is to unquestioningly believe is that it is
impossible. After all, everybody 'knows' faster than light is impossible. But sadly, that contributes very little to progress and
does nothing to push technology forward. I know for a fact that the authors do not propose to have invented a blueprint for a warp drive starship. The paper is obviously an attempt to encourage critical thinking and consideration of novel forms of propulsion using cutting edge physics.
I think that a great analogy is the Apollo moon program. The challenge to send men to the moon required the most profound burst of
technological creativity and the largest commitment of resources ever made by a nation in peacetime. At its peak, the Apollo program employed tens of thousands of Americans and required the support of thousands of industrial firms and universities. Two physicists working part time on faster than light are not going to solve all the associated problems. But what they can do is encourage progress in the
Finally, I think it's important not to create an 'us vs them' attitude separating people into believers and non-believers which, by definition, injects the concept of faith into the argument. It's a difficult problem that's not going to be solved overnight. The problem may be tantamount to Neanderthals trying to understand computer
technology. Who knows? But I am certain of one thing. If we never think about these problems, we'll never solve them.
The trouble with the proposed warp drive: there is no space "stuff" to expand or contract. Space has no substance, it is merely the separation of matter that we perceive as space.
So what would the warp drive act upon?
There are two problems with the idea proposed.
First, "space-time" is a mathematical, not a physical construct.
By treating time as another spatial coordinate, a physicist can
perform calculations (esp. in tensor calculus) more conveniently than
otherwise. However, time is not interchangeable with space
except mathematically. Einstein and everyone else knows that
time goes only one way -- is irreversible. One "moves" in time
(notice the fiction-writer's metaphor) only one way. By contrast,
spatial coordinates are reversible; one can "move" (during time)
Therefore, treating space-time as a "fabric" (another fanciful
metaphor) which might be "warpable" is physical nonsense. Yes,
general relativity implies a "bending" of space-time; but, again,
after the calculations have been done, the result must be treated
(by a physicist) in terms of the irreversible increase of time at every
spatial point. The RATE of increase varies with inertial frame, but
the direction never reverses (even "in" a black hole).
Secondly, displacement from one spatial point to another in
a time interval implying travel faster than light is equivalent
to reversal of time. One arrives at a new point before past
events have occurred there. This violates conservation of energy
(not merely a requirement for a lot of energy) as well as the
Second Law of thermodynamics.
We would have to give up the Second Law and conservation of energy
to accept physical faster-than-light travel. It is not likely.
So, "warp" travel is equivalent to: Let us assume that energy is not
conserved, and that entropy can decrease over time everywhere.
It is good science fiction, but that's all.
this is a glorious article! OMG i love it!
I've also recently designed a desktop power supply, that can power my lab, and the entire building in fact, for 50 years! It is based on suspending a tiny little black hole inside a magnetic field, my string theory calculations explain precisely how it all works. So now could you please publish my discovery in EEtimes! thank you
Consulting Electronics Design Engineer ... that has repeatedly been called upon to fix what Advanced Electrical Design Engineers and other Engineers have attempted to design. People once thought that the Earth was the center of the Universe. They thought the Earth was flat. The limits of technology are unknown. Einstein's "Theory" is not a Law. Light can be particle or wave but in principal, not simultaneously. SCI FI is food for thought. Don't be a Neanderthal.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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